Popplet ESL Activities: Vocabulary Building (2)

Popplet is a mind-mapping app, which offers a limitless canvas that lets users capture ideas then organize and connect them in a multitude of ways. It’s no surprise that vocabulary building and Popplet are such a good fit. A language might consist of millions of words – a daunting prospect for the language learner. Fortunately, getting to know each and every word is not how vocabulary building works. The key to understanding a lexicon is to navigate its vastness through its connections. Popplet is the perfect tool for this.

In our previous article, we introduced some ways to teach language learners vocabulary by employing Popplet’s user-friendly features. We hope we gave some indication of Popplet’s potential as an adaptable, effective application for the ESL classroom. Next, we are going to examine more vocabulary building strategies by focussing on:

Let’s begin with the words that every English language student loves to hate: phrasal verbs!

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Popplet ESL Activities: Grammar

Few areas have produced more debate in the field of English language learning than that of grammar instruction. What most language teachers agree on is that at some point language learners fare far better if they develop a firm grasp of the working rules that govern the use of the English language.

Where language professionals might differ is in “how” to teach grammar. Traditional methods initially used to teach Latin and Greek, consisted of learning grammar tables and rules by rote, and included a lot of painful repetition, which students rarely remember fondly. As for their effectiveness, since 17th & 18th-century learners were never expected to actually speak these ancient languages, it’s hard to say. Most would certainly remember verb conjugations for the rest of their lives!

With the popularity of modern languages such as English and the possibility of actually being able to speak the language being learned, methods gradually changed, albeit surprisingly slowly. Nowadays, a more communicative approach is favored in most language learning classrooms, and the emphasis on a precise knowledge of grammar is much more relaxed.

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Popplet Ideas for ESL Teaching

Popplet is a user-friendly tech tool that is popular with teachers and students of all ages and disciplines.  It is a mind-mapping application for the iPad and the web that lets you capture and organize your ideas. Popplet is versatile, with an easy to use interface and a comfortable level of functionality, but with robust features that are especially suited to learning environments.


With Popplet you can instantly add editable text, links, images, colors and drawings to connectable bubbles called popples, and connect these popples to create visually informative landscapes of information. Teachers and students can collaborate in real time, and finished work can be presented using one of Popplet’s Presentation modes.

Popplet has steadily been gaining traction with ESL educators and language teachers. It’s hands-on, visual nature lets students form connections between facts and ideas in various ways. Dynamic and fun, it has the ability to make even the dryest of grammar points much more palatable – students become a lot more interested in the finer points of the Reported Speech  if they get to make a Popplet about it on their iPads or laptops!

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